Goodbye, Rangers: Veteran Colby Lewis sends farewell message

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Colby Lewis has said goodbye to the Texas Rangers, the organization that drafted him and made both its World Series appearances with the veteran right-hander in the rotation.

Lewis released a statement Tuesday thanking the team and its fans when Rangers pitchers and catchers were reporting to spring training in Arizona. He wrote that goodbyes “are inevitable and this is mine.”

The 37-year-old Lewis is still a free agent, but turned down offers from the Rangers for a minor league contract. He never mentioned retirement in his statement.

Lewis was picked 38th overall by the Rangers in the 1999 amateur draft and made his big league debut with them in 2002. He had right shoulder surgery in early 2004 before sitting out all of 2005. He then pitched for Detroit and Oakland and spent two years in Japan before returning to Texas in 2010.

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Over 11 major league seasons , nine of those with the Rangers, he is 77-72 with a 4.70 ERA. Lewis was 4-1 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 postseason games for Texas.

Lewis said he was “forever grateful” to the Rangers.

“They helped make my baseball dreams come true. I pitched in two World Series with the uniform I love on my back,” said Lewis, the winning pitcher against the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS that clinched the team’s first World Series berth .

Lewis set career highs with 17 wins and 204 2/3 innings pitched in 2015, less than two years after a resurfacing procedure that was just short of a full hip replacement and unprecedented for a major league pitcher.

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He was 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 19 games last year, when he missed two months in the middle of the season because of a strained right lat. He took a no-hit bid into the ninth inning of a game last June 16 at Oakland before giving up a leadoff double, and had been perfect until a two-out walk in the eighth.